Photo: Venezuela News
Ruling-party candidate Nicolas Maduro, a protege of late President Hugo Chavez, is claiming victory in Venezuela’s presidential race while the opposition is challenging the results.
“We can say that we have a fair, legal, constitutional and popular election victory,” Maduro told supporters gathered outside the Miraflores Palace.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, however, refuses to concede and wants a full recount of Sunday’s election.
“We are not going to recognize the results until every single vote cast by Venezuelans is counted,” Capriles said.
The 50-year-old Maduro, a former labor leader who served as vice president under Chavez, garnered only 234,935 more votes than Capriles.
“We welcome a recount, the recount was already stipulated,” Maduro said.
Chavez, who died on March 5, defeated the 40-year-old Capriles 55.5 percent to 44.39 percent in the Oct. 7 presidential election, garnering 1.6 million more votes than his opponent.
“We are the ones most interested in a recount and I have asked the the National Electoral Council to conduct a recount in front of the country,” the ruling-party candidate said.
Maduro won 7,505,338 votes, or 50.66 percent of the ballots cast, while Capriles garnered 7,270,403 votes, or 49.07 percent, the National Electoral Council, or CNE, said.
Some 78.71 percent of Venezuela’s 18.9 million registered voters cast ballots in the election to serve out the 2013-2019 term of Chavez, the CNE said.
At least 3,200 incidents occurred during Sunday’s presidential election, Capriles said.
“For our democracy, for the peace of our people ... we want a recount to be done, a vote by vote count,” Capriles told his supporters.
The losers in the presidential election are Maduro and his administration, the opposition leader said.
“I say to the government candidate: the loser today is you. You are the loser, you and your administration,” Capriles said.
The opposition leader denied Maduro’s comments about a supposed proposal for a political pact.
“I don’t make pacts with lies or with corruption, my pact is with God and with Venezuelans,” Capriles said.
Defense Minister Adm. Diego Molero said after the release of the election results that the armed forces would be the guarantor of the vote’s outcome.